Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quick Hoorah!!

Just a quick note to say that Izzy ended steroids Tuesday morning, and within 36 hours I could tell she was feeling better. Before she could not sit up on her own or focus on anything for longer than a couple of minutes, but yesterday she sat around the table coloring and learning her letters for a good 45 minutes. Lorin is very happy to have her playmate back a bit. As for the eating fetish....we'll just say it's come down a hair from her most feeding frenzy moments. Non-steroid moments are a beautiful thang! :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

6 more doses

We are almost done with these dang steroids. Izzy is trying desperately to keep her chin up while dealing with constant diarrhea, belly pain, and extreme hunger. She prefers laying on the couch dawn 'til dusk and puts up with some stroller walks to the park even when she tells me "I don't need any fresh air." Lotion foot rubs are her other form of exercise :) But we are rounding the bend to a steroid-free existence once again and hopefully the lucky "Buddha belly" rubbing will bring some new energy.

Other than a port-poke for a quick blood draw, she gets a break from treatment this week. Starting on October 2nd we've got a month left (including 2 spinal taps...ugh!) before Maintenance begins (which will feel like a good dream...yeah!!).

As always, we appreciate all of you and know your positive vibes are coming our way.

Steroids redistribute weight to cheeks and belly as well as cause some swelling (and of course with all the eating, she has gained about 4 pounds which is good--finally back to pre-Leuk weight)

Between low platelets and blood-thinner shots she can be a pin-cushion for Halloween :)

Cancer sisters at the cancer center. Morgan (left) and Izzy are good friends.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Steroids...all the "rage"

Steroids hadn't hit yet at this fun shot of a carnival ride.

Wow! Some major flash-backs to the beginning of April. Izzy has been on Steroids again now for 12 days. Major irritability, extremely tired, and her belly is so swollen she looks pregnant--it is hard as rock and yet her brain tells her that she is still starving, so she eats. It is the craziest thing...she starts talking about what she ate on a certain occasion 2 months ago and how yummy it was. Her mind is consumed by food. She wakes up in the night deciding what she wants to eat come morning. And then she sits there groaning that her belly hurts.

I asked the doctor what exactly the steroids do for her and he simply said "it is a chemotherapy." He commenced to tell me that it is one of those parts to the protocol that they don't fully understand what it's doing; they just know it plays a key role in wiping out any hiding cancer cells still looming in her body somewhere. So, we feel a little like it's the blind leading the blind. Then again we want that 85% chance that she will make it through this.

So we are in a bit of a valley as she screams (literally) for more food (e.g., mac n' cheese, pizza, and cereal all before 8:00 in the morning) constantly. If we remember to laugh instead of cry (or worse, rage back), it works a lot better.

Or if we remember that Make A Wish is sending our family to Disney World in February, it can help a bit :). The rep called and worked out the details just recently. Afterwards I told Izzy I was talking to her Fairy Godmother. Her eyes got so huge as she smiled in disbelief and said "I have a Fairy Godmother?....what color is or pink?" We had the cutest conversation.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Here is a video that is worth watching:

These four ladies work at the cancer center doing all the behind-the-scenes grunt work. They bought Izzy this tile that she could turn into a work of art and it will become part of the new Children's Hospital when it is done. They love Izzy, and we love them!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Last Phase of Intense Chemo (2 more months)

We are back in Ann Arbor with Lorin and I starting school today, Kerri and Izzy at the cancer center and Ryan with a babysitter from church. We are busy again but excited about our last year here in Michigan. ...nobody say anything about the Appalachian State game...

We had a great time in Idaho a week ago visiting Kerri's family. Izzy was feeling really good and had a great time with her cousins, riding horses, riding four wheelers and chasing chickens. I had a great time getting bucked off of a pony. If you are feeling up for a good laugh at my expense you can check out the video here.

Izzy is in her last phase of intense chemo. The phase will last about two months. It could be a really tough one for her in that the doses of chemo are heavy, she is back on steroids and she is still getting her twice a day blood thinning shot. The steroids will likely cause a similar swelling (redistribution of her fat) in her face and stomach as the first steroids she took did. However, we are extremely grateful that she is doing so well and that we are close to being done with the intense chemo period of her treatment.